As we first thought of how Star Swapper would look, we had a pretty clear picture. As with everything in game development, the picture quickly mutated into a complex design with more issues than solutions.
This was the first point in the development where me and Daniel would have a serious discussion (or conflict if you will) about here the game was headed. As an inexperienced developer Daniel lost his nerve a couple of time while deleting one visual concept, assembling another one just to go back to the initial first one. That included every gameplay element in the game. You can imagine.
Finally, we came up with something that all three of us were happy with. The first working concept was not perfect, but we liked it.
It was still far from what had wanted to achieve but it was a start.
We were experimenting with different ways of marking slots for stars, marking stars themselves and making a whole puzzle look good and clear to the Player. The challenge was to convey the information about each star’s destination while at the same time the destination information being ‘under’ the gameplay.
At some point we came with what we considered a good design.
With Latin symbols rotating over a desired slot and graphics imitating what we could possible see in a space-themed movie, we jumped right into creating as many playable levels as possible.
Problems arose when it came to levels with a high number of elements. These would be the ones you will encounter at the end of each Chapter. During playing those levels the number of rotating elements drove too much attention away from what was really important. We also had problems with fitting everything in a 4:3 aspect ratio screen. Gameplay elements would cross each other, hover on one another making the whole screen sparkle like a Christmas tree. The clarity became a challenge.
We had to solve this issue efficiently as we knew we wanted the big levels to be a challenge later on in the game. We wanted to give you puzzle that would drive your inner Sherlock Holmes crazy.
That’s where a talented 2D artist came into the picture and finally gave us a coherent artistic vision of the game.
You will learn more about that in another post.
Thanks for reading. I will you next time.